If youíre following Beverly Hills suggestion and shopping fashionably late, then we at blogging.la want to help you find interesting and unique gifts for friends, family and lucky receivers. Tammara finds Divinity in Hollywood, EECUE has a challenge for the DIY hacker, Colleen finds exclusive design in Silverlake and Cindy covers Holiday Bazaars to help us be conscious consumers. And watch out, if you get a red envelope from me this year. ;)
All this after the jump…
Red Envelope Firecracker
Itís a little early to be giving out Red Envelopes, but I like to mix traditions and celebrations, so this year I decided to add sparky red envelopes filled with firecrackers and snap-pops to my list. (I know they are supposed to be filled with money, but I want 2006 to be a bang for everyone!) Wander through Chinatown to find cheap and unique additions for the tree, stocking stuffers or gift charms. Stop at the Central Plaza and wander through the maze called Chinatown Plaza on Broadway near College downtown.
A Silverlake Find
A hunt for The Teastick brought the BF (and me, who the teastick was for) to A+R General Store in Silver Lake.
Freshly installed in the space previously occupied by 1010, nestled snugly in that clutch of antique shops and restaurants on Silver Lake Boulevard where it splits off at the reservoir, A+R is tiny, bright, and filled with lovely, unique design gifts — lots of them at really great prices. My teastick was under $25 (and it rocks), plus there are un-wallets, stackable “diamond” rings fashioned from bright plastics, coasters, etc. For the flush, there are also beautiful lightweight molded bowls, cool glass stemware from Italy and the like. Everything in there looks like it came from ID magazine; the nice, friendly owner told us they’re trying to stock design items exclusive to the Los Angeles area. There’s no website yet; actual store location is 1716 Silverlake Blvd., just past Effie.
Recycle your money
My favorite thing to do for Christmas shopping is to do my best to be a “conscious consumer” and go to anti-mall bazaars organized by community organizations and non-profits. I’ve already missed a couple this holiday season, but there’s one coming up on Sunday, December 18 at the South Central Farm at 41st and Alamed. You can also get a tour of the garden and learn more about the farm and the struggle to keep the land.
This flier lists several vendors as well as the types of goods that will be on sale. You won’t have to go all the way to Mexico for some fine hand-crafted items from cooperatives in states such as of Chiapas, Sonora, Chihuahua and Oaxaca.
For Do-it-Yourself Types
The ultimate ChristmaHanuKawanzika gift for the hardware hacker in your family is the New Furby ($40 MSRP / $30 street price) which is powered by Sensory Inc‘s RSC-4128 multifunction single chip processor and which also now has an Off switch (never trust a robot without a power switch). If you’re the adventurous type, you can even give it to them pre-skinned and ready to hack! Don’t forget to include a Boxer 62 Piece Security Bit Set which you can pick up at Fry’s for around $30 (make sure it includes a triangular bit). For the advanced hacker you will also want to give them the sensory Inc RSC-4x Demo / Evaluation kit which will run you $150 when you order it direct from Sensory Inc [96k PDF].
Malls represent the death of neighborhood…and since I’m all about community, I’m determined to do my shopping this season around the Hollywood homefront. One of my first stops is always at the Monastery of the Angels, a cloistered nunnery at 1977 Carmen Avenue. They make killer pumpkin bread every holiday season. Homemade by the nuns, you can be sure it’s pure in heart and spirit…and it’s pretty tasty too. According to Sister Mary St. Peter, who’s in charge of the gift shop, open 8-6pm Mondays thru Saturdays, the pumpkin bread is their biggest seller, with lines snaking out the door in the mornings as Christmas gets closer. For $7.00 you get a big loaf full of nuts. It’s great toasted with some butter on a chilly morning. They also make coffee cake for $5.00 and lots of hand-dipped chocolates: Rocca Sicca Butter Toffee, with almonds dipped in chocolate, St. Martins Mints, both light and dark chocolate and a personal weird favorite of mine…Divinity candy. Fitting since it’s a divine confection made from pecans, whipped egg whites, sugar and a couple of other ingredients that make it pretty heavenly by these women of the cloth pledged to holiness. The monastery is located one block north of Franklin, on Carmen, a small street off Gower. Their number is 323-466-2186,
Another great find is “Lost & Found, etcetera”. This quadrant of shops at 6320 Yucca, Between Vine and Argyle has some of the coolest and quirkiest finds around. My biggest problem in shopping there is that I want everything they sell for myself.
Jamie Rosenthal, the owner goes to extraordinary lengths to feature one of a kind items that are perfect for everyone on your list. The shop has home furnishings, funky and stylish clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, art work, children’s clothes…the list goes on and on. I yearn for the buttery soft bike bag/purse that was made from the softest leather I’ve ever felt. And they have some of the sexiest, yet funkiest boots I’ve ever seen in colors ranging from burnt orange to purple. Me likey. And they’re 30% off til Christmas. I also lust after the towels she carries…silly, lusting after towels. But these are soft and plushy, full with brilliant designs and rich colors by Missonni. The store carries a pile of eclectic jewelry, one of a kind stuff that’s really original. One of the four shops is an artist gallery/art store that has art books, cool prints, funky low-tech Lomo cameras that shoot cool fish-eye images. There’s hand made paper journals, art supplies and lots of interesting things that light the creative fire in you. Jamie says she loves to give people ideas to inspire… and I can easily say that I was inspired by the Marci Micelle prints, called a Polaroid print series, little paintings, mostly of women and coffee that range in price from $55-$200. There’s also a kid’s store that has some really cool kids clothes. Her kids store has a satellite store at “The Golden Bridge”.
The Golden Bridge is a Yoga Studio at 6322 De Longpre, right behind the Arclight Theaters. They carry a full line of clothes, books, CD’s, lots of cool candles and oils…really something for everyone. A perfect gift for your yogini might even be a yoga series for classes.
With all these options, thereís no reason to hit the malls this year!